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State Lobby Day: A Day to Remember

We are excited that you are joining us May 10th for the 2016 NC AHA You’re the Cure at the Capitol State Lobby Day.   To help you feel ready, we want to provide some important information about Lobby Day.

Lobby Day Schedule:

  • Registration check-in will open at 8:30 am at the Legislative Building Auditorium (link to map below). 
  • The training program will begin promptly at 9:00 am and conclude by 10:30 am so that you will be able to visit with your lawmakers. During the training we will go over the day’s events, our "asks" for the day, divide into your Lobby Day meeting groups, and have time to practice with your group. 
  • Lunch will be at the General Assembly Cafeteria in the Legislative Building. 
  • Rest area during the day is in the 1200 Court of the Legislative Building. Here you will find AHA staff, have a place to complete meeting evaluations, and take a break. 
  • All activities will conclude by 3:30 pm. 

What to wear and bring with you:

  • Visiting the legislature is an active day.  So wear comfortable shoes! 
  • Business attire is recommended, and we request that you wear something red. 
  • Also – don’t forget to check the weather – if it is supposed to rain, bring your umbrella! (Our event is rain or shine!)

Visiting the Legislature (Parking and Directions):

Staying in Raleigh:
If you prefer to come to Raleigh the evening before, here are some hotels in the downtown area that are convenient to the Legislature:

  • Marriot City Center: 500 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh NC 27601 - Phone: (919) 833-1120
  • Sheraton: 421 South Salisbury Street, Raleigh NC 27601 - Phone: (919) 834-9900
  • Holiday Inn (least expensive and closest to the Legislative Complex): 320 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27603 - Phone: (919) 832-0501

We know that was a lot of information to digest!  That is why we will wait until next week to send out information about the issues we will be talking with our legislators about.  When that information is up, you will be able to read about it by checking back with us on this post.

If you have questions about the logistical information, please contact Kacie Kennedy for more information.

 

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Governor Haley Signs Lifesaving Hands-On CPR in Schools Bill into Law

Governor Nikki Haley signed House Bill 3265 into law on Thursday, April 21, requiring all South Carolina students to learn hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This essential life skill will be incorporated into the already required high school health education curriculum and will ultimately benefit countless families by increasing the number of people with CPR proficiency.  Far too many people die suddenly from cardiac arrest who might have been saved if only those around them were trained to administer CPR.

Coleman Maness, a young, sudden cardiac arrest survivor and American Heart Association volunteer shared his thoughts. "We have been working so hard on this legislation for the past four years, and it is great to finally see the result of our hard work today. My life was saved by Bailey Barnes who performed bystander CPR, and this bill will ensure that other cardiac arrest victims will have a greater chance at survival." Coleman’s story of survival motivated a close friend, at the time a high school student, Sally Sheppard, to take action by working with a local legislator to have CPR in Schools legislation introduced during the 2012 session.

House Bill 3265 was sponsored by over 20 representatives and passed the House unanimously in 2015. The Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children endorsed the CPR in Schools legislation.

Thank your lawmakers for passing this livesaving measure.

Nearly 424,000 people have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 10.4 percent survive, most likely because bystanders simply don’t know what to do. When administered right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. Teaching students CPR will fill the state with lifesavers, giving sudden cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive making our communities safer and improving South Carolina’s survival rates.

South Carolina becomes the 30th state to require hands-on CPR joining Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia—all of which require CPR be taught to students in middle or high school.

The legislation was endorsed by 14 national and statewide organizations including the American Heart Association, South Carolina State Association of Fire Chiefs, South Carolina State Firefighters Association, and the South Carolina chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Be sure to send your thank you now.

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Fresh Food for Strong Kids

Why do we need a Healthy Corner Store Initiative?  This week, Valerie King, from Yadkinville, shares her thoughts.

Help us bring healthy foods to all NC communities this year – tell your lawmaker today.

"My little diva was born with a congenital heart defect. She has had 5 open heart surgeries and is the strongest kid I know. As we shuffle about from one after school activity to another, I get upset when I realize I have forgotten any snacks for her. When you live in rural North Carolina there aren’t many options available to stop and pick her up a quick healthy snack.

Her heart disease is something we couldn’t prevent. Now that she is here we want to be able to make sure she fuels her body with what she needs."

We all deserve the right to make a healthy choice. As legislative session is just around the corner, tell your lawmakers today that healthy food should be accessible in all communities, and ask them to support HB 250, the Healthy Small Food Retailer Act.

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We Want You... To Come To State Lobby Day

Don’t worry!  There is still time to register for NC AHA You're the Cure State Lobby Day on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. But if you haven't already signed up - don't delay! Sign up here.

The event will begin promptly at 9am with an issues overview and advocacy training at the legislative building. The rest of the day will be spent meeting face to face with lawmakers and watching the House and Senate in action. We anticipate the day ending around 3:30pm.

This year, we will be advocating for the following policy initiatives:

  • Passage of the Healthy Corner Store Initiative with full funding.
  • Sharing the vital importance of accessing healthcare.

Register now! It's easy - just click here. Please register by Monday, April 25, as space is limited.

Final event details will be emailed in late April.

If you have any questions, please contact Kacie Kennedy.

We look forward to an exciting day with our advocates!

Sincerely,

Kim Chidester, Sarah Jacobson, & Betsy Vetter
Your North Carolina Advocacy Team

*PS - Want to make your registration easier? On the "detailed information" page, check the box beside the statement "carry forward" and your information will auto-fill on the next page of the registration form.

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CPR in Schools. Saving Lives!

Guest Blogger: Ben Schmauss, Government Relations Director, NV

 Thanks to the hard work of our You’re the Cure Advocates in 2013, we were successful in passing Assembly Bill 414 in the Nevada State Legislature which would require hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training for students when funding was available.  Because funding was not yet available to implement CPR in schools statewide, we immediately began working with our school districts to identify ways that we could implement this law and save lives.  

The Las Vegas Division AHA Board, staff and volunteers went to work advocating for the addition of hands-only CPR to the Clark County School District (CCSD) mandatory 8th grade and high school health curriculum. In August of 2015, our volunteers and staff were successful, as CCSD’S Board of Trustees approved $143,519.70 specifically designated for instructional supplies for CPR.  CCSD is the 5th largest school district in the nation, and this new effort will train over 40,000 students a year.

The picture is AHA Volunteer and Survivor, Steve Schauer, and myself supporting the life changing and lifesaving power of Hands Only CPR. 

Thank You CCSD, the Las Vegas AHA Board, volunteers and supporters. You made this possible. Many lives will be saved because of this instruction. We have already identified two students that have used this life saving training received in CCSD health classes to save a loved one. Stay tuned - more to come on those stories soon!

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Psst ... We Want To Tell You Something Big!

Throughout the year, we reach out with a "THANK YOU!" message to our advocates because we want you to know that your efforts are making a difference and saving lives.

We appreciate you every moment of every day.  We value those times when you rush through dinner with your family to make to make a council meeting in your community, and when you stand up and share your reasons for supporting an AHA policy. 

It means so much to us when you dedicate your time to State Lobby Day, meeting with legislators to reinforce support for active legislation.  And we can’t forget to thank you for driving to in-district Congressional offices to thank lawmakers for their support on AHA’s federal issues.  When you click to send a letter online it is incredibly valuable to our efforts and we genuinely appreciate your efforts. 

We know you have a choice about how you spend your time.  The fact that you invest in You're the Cure honors us - so this week, National Volunteer Appreciation Week, we honor you. Because YOU are our "why."

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Kentucky Becomes 29th State to Pass CPR in Schools!

Great news! Thanks to your emails, phone calls and visits with lawmakers, Kentucky's CPR in Schools bill passed the Kentucky House and Senate and was signed into law April 9th by Governor Bevin. Passage of Senate Bill 33 makes Kentucky the 29th state that has taken steps to ensure all students learn CPR, adding tens of thousands of lifesavers to our communities each year.

Unfortunately, because many bystanders are unsure of what to do, currently only about 10 percent of the more than 326,000 people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year survive. Teaching our high school students what to do in an emergency can change this. Effective hands-only bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

Again, thank you for helping ensure an entire generation of young adults will have the skills to save a life! 

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Jennifer & Joel Griffin

Jennifer & Joel Griffin, Virginia

On June 8, 2012, Gwyneth Griffin, a 7th grader at A. G. Wright Middle School, collapsed in cardiac arrest.  Several critical minutes passed before her father, Joel, reached her. CPR had not been initiated. “There was no one else taking care of my daughter, so I had to,” said Joel. Gwyneth’s mother, Jennifer, stated “It was after the results of the MRI, 3 weeks later, that we decided no one should ever have to go through what we were going through. What became evident was the need for CPR training in schools."

While the couple immersed themselves in caring for Gwyneth at the hospital, friends and family were busy back home in Stafford learning CPR. Joel and Jennifer’s daughter, Gwyneth, passed away Monday, July 30, 2012, not from her cardiac arrest, but because CPR was not initiated within the first few minutes. Their home community mobilized, and at least 500 people have become certified in CPR since.

Jennifer and Joel involved themselves in working with the American Heart Association and their legislators to establish legislation that would assure every student was trained in CPR before graduation.  Through their efforts and perseverance, and in honor of their daughter, Gwyneth’s Law was passed in Virginia in the 2013 General Assembly session.  The law has three components: teacher training in CPR, AED availability in schools, and CPR training as a graduation requirement.

Here’s a look at how the Griffin's determination led to success:

(Please visit the site to view this video)

Since passage of the Virginia law, the Griffins have continued to work to help other states accomplish the same goal.  They visited Maryland legislators during the 2014 General Assembly session, and were instrumental in getting a similar law passed there.  Now they are actively working to make it happen in DC schools, including a series of legislator visits, a television interview, and providing testimony before committees They hope their story will help inspire others to support CPR training in schools as well. 

The legacy that Gwyneth leaves behind is one that will save countless lives. Help honor her legacy. This quick video will help you become CPR smart (and might get you dancing too):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HGpp6mStfY

 

Gwyneth Griffin

 

Special thanks to You’re the Cure advocate/writer Karen Wiggins, LPN, CHWC, for help crafting this story.

 

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Leigh Pechillo, Connecticut

Leigh Pechillo brings an extraordinary level of commitment and passion to her work as a volunteer for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Leigh suffered a massive heart attack on Mother’s Day in 2014 and was saved by her husband, Tom, who performed necessary lifesaving CPR on her until emergency services were able to take over. But her experience is not the only way heart disease struck Leigh’s family…her father passed away from congestive heart failure after years of heart related issues, her son Robby was born with two congenital heart defects, and Tom is also a heart defect survivor.

Leigh now spends much of her time raising money and awareness for congenital heart defects and heart disease. She is a frequent blogger for the Huffington Post, often speaking not only about her own experience as a survivor, but also of the importance of being CPR certified and of maintaining a healthy heart. She is happy to share her experiences so that hopefully others will be able to live a heart-healthy life.

As an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association volunteer, Leigh has also been extremely helpful as a legislative advocate in CT, often contacting her legislators and testifying on bills of importance at the Capitol. She submitted written testimony to the Public Health committee in 2015 to make CPR training part of the public school curriculum so that others “may one day save the life of someone they love.” CPR in Schools training is now part of the school curriculum because of volunteer efforts like Leigh’s.

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Dedicated Advocates Save CPR Training!

During the 2015 legislative session, AHA advocates worked hard to pass legislation making CT the 24th state to require CPR training in the public school curriculum.  At the same time, a High School Graduation Task Force was formed to review recent changes to the state’s high school graduation requirements.

Upon completion of its study, the Task Force submitted numerous recommendations to the legislature’s Education committee. One of their recommendations was to remove the CPR training requirement from the curriculum! Their main issue was that they thought it would be difficult to fund and to find available instructors. We informed them that the per-student cost would be approximately $1.00, and that many schools have been able to provide training at no cost using community volunteer instructors or video-based programs, donated equipment, and drawing support from businesses, foundations, civic organizations and public agencies.

The AHA advocacy team lobbied hard against this proposal and testified on the bill at its public hearing. When the bill was finally discussed numerous legislators expressed support for maintaining CPR training in the curriculum and seemed surprised that the Task Force proposed taking it out. What made the real difference, however, was that AHA volunteers, board members and employees sent emails and made numerous phone calls to targeted members on the Education committee. Largely because of these activities, the committee ultimately did not advance the bill and CPR training remains in the curriculum.

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